Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea really likes bees, and he’d like to share them with you.
The 52-year-old musician (née Michael Peter Balzary) has been sharing photos of himself working in his apiary on both his Facebook and Instagram pages, and it’s causing quite a buzz.
“Pleezus more beezus,” Flea wrote in June.
By posting the photos, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer has drawn attention to the steadily decreasing population of honeybees across the planet. In some cases, entire hives will become deserted in a phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) – though scientists have yet to find a definitive reason why.
Several studies have singled out the use of neonicotinoid pesticides in particular for the damage they do to bees’ nervous systems. Even minute exposure to the pesticide has been shown to damage bees’ motor skills, impair brain function and leave them unable to find their hives. Greater exposure results in death. It’s for this reason that neonicotoinoids have now been banned in all federal wildlife refuges. The European Union passed a multi-national ban on three types of neonicotinoids in December 2013.
In January, representatives from 118 businesses sent a letter to President Obama asking him to suspend the use of these pesticides for fears of how it will affect crops across the nation. As pollinators, bees contribute nearly $27 billion to the US economy and $217 billion to the global economy, according to the letter, and fewer bees means both less food and higher prices.
Whatever the reason behind CCD, urgent action is needed. Since last year alone, beekeepers have reported a 42.1 percent drop in their colony populations, according to a nationwide survey sponsored by the US Agriculture Department.
For his part, Flea has converted his backyard into an apiary that consists of three hives with over 60,000 bees each. As TMZ reports, “he really digs bees.”
In December, Flea will take part in the Pathway to Paris concert that will raise awareness about climate change during the international Paris Climate Summit that will begin on November 30.